Scientology On Its Last Legs?

Founding Church of Scientology in Washington DC. Photo: Ben Schumin (CC)

Founding Church of Scientology in Washington DC. Photo: Ben Schumin (CC)

There once was a time when the media were scared to report on the madness that is the “Church” of Scientology for fear of costly litigation. No more. While there have been occasional reports over the years, last year ABC News went hard after Scientology leader David Miscavige. Now the New York Times runs a front page story suggesting that the “Church” is losing members fast and may have as few as 25,000 members in the United States, versus the millions claimed by the organization:

Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org.

They signed a contract for a billion years — in keeping with the church’s belief that Scientologists are immortal. They worked seven days a week, often on little sleep, for sporadic paychecks of $50 a week, at most.

But after 13 years and growing disillusionment, the Collbrans decided to leave the Sea Org, setting off on a Kafkaesque journey that they said required them to sign false confessions about their personal lives and their work, pay the church thousands of dollars it said they owed for courses and counseling, and accept the consequences as their parents, siblings and friends who are church members cut off all communication with them.

“Why did we work so hard for this organization,” Ms. Collbran said, “and why did it feel so wrong in the end? We just didn’t understand.”

They soon discovered others who felt the same. Searching for Web sites about Scientology that are not sponsored by the church (an activity prohibited when they were in the Sea Org), they discovered that hundreds of other Scientologists were also defecting — including high-ranking executives who had served for decades…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • David

    I suspect this is because more senior people are leaving the Church (see http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ the blog of a former second-in-command) as opposed to the lower level people who defected in the past.

    • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

      True, but I am certain defections of people in the higher echelons actively works against recruiting.

      “Well, I have a desperate need for a cult to control my life, but all the old cultists are quitting Scientology. Hmm… I guess I'll see if there might be a different UFO cult that is more popular.”

      People are sadly easily led and want to be a part of something “popular”, even if they do not consciously realize it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wrenja-Czaczkes/100000276829636 Wrenja Czaczkes

    well, if this is true HELL YEAH

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wrenja-Czaczkes/100000276829636 Wrenja Czaczkes

    well, if this is true HELL YEAH

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